Blog Entry

Bill Self allegedly blacklisted J.R. Giddens

Posted on: September 28, 2011 12:13 pm
Edited on: September 28, 2011 12:31 pm
By Matt Norlander

Jason King has probably written a heck of a book. The lead-up to "Beyond the Phog" has already given us a couple of spicy anecdotes about the past decade of Kansas basketball.

Humble, Midwestern KU hoops with so much drama? Seems so. I'll be hosting King on a podcast next week, so be on the lookout for that, as I hope to get a few stories out of him that didn't make the cut for the book.

Today, another snippet from the book was released, and it details J.R. Giddens' relationship with Bill Self. If you don't remember Giddens, he played with the team six years ago, then transferred to New Mexico. He was the classic case of a highly recruited kid who seemingly didn't pan out and couldn't handle his role at a premium, big-time program.

But there is more to the story. (And Giddens did eventually find a better fit with New Mexico.) Giddens wasn't a perfect player. Far from it. But from his perspective, he wasn't treated well by Self, or really anyone affiliated with Kansas basketball, outside of the players.

Here's a hearty and juicy excerpt:
Any thoughts I had about leaving (school early) for the NBA ended when I got stabbed. ... If anything, I was trying to figure out if I was ever going to play basketball again. I think that’s why they made me leave Kansas. The doctor said I would walk with a limp for the rest of my life.

I’m not saying Kansas threw me out like a battery. But ... they weren’t going to let me stay around campus and be Moulaye Niang.

Micah Downs was coming in. Bill Self used to always tell me, “Micah is coming in and he's better than you.” He would just say little stuff like that and I was like, “Dang, man, you’re not even for me, are you?” I wanted to stay at Kansas but I felt like they just pushed me out the door, especially after getting stabbed. I was like, “I'm sitting here worrying if I'm ever play basketball again and you guys are over here talking to me in an inappropriate manner? I'm 19 years old. You guys are supposed to my college coaches. Instead, at the first sign of trouble, you guys are turning your back on me?” I felt like it was everyone from the coaching staff to the people up there in the offices. As a 19-year-old who was immature and didn’t understand life, I took that really hard. I left the office in tears when I knew I was leaving.

I remember that day really well. I walked out of there on crutches, crying. I’d been interrogated for about seven hours for three days straight. ... Bill Self was telling my teammates not to have any contact with me. Darnell Jackson and Jeremy Case were two of my best friends, and they weren’t even allowed to talk to me. Aaron Miles was done playing so he came over. He was the only person who came and saw me. I was like, “Dang, I’m 30 feet from where I used to stay and you guys can’t even come over here and see me?” I’m stabbed and laid up and don’t even know if I’m going to play basketball again. That was very kind of Kansas basketball and Bill Self, to tell people to stay away from me like I was a team cancer.

Let's be clear: This is Giddens' recalling of the events from six years ago. There could be some truth, and some half-truths as well. Regardless, that's a bad light to put Kansas hoops in. And it's an interesting one as well, because the program's been so dominant in the past decade, seeing the less-attractive aspects of the Big 12 dynasty is an intriguing dichotomy. Few programs ever truly get along well all the time. There's discourse everywhere. Kansas is about to have its troubled aired publicly, though.

As for Giddens post-college, he did make it to the NBA, most recently playing with the Celtics and Knicks.

Photo: AP

Category: NCAAB

Since: Sep 26, 2011
Posted on: September 30, 2011 12:08 am

Bill Self allegedly blacklisted J.R. Giddens

The comments on here are obviously from KU fans defending Bill Self.  This is a kid who had to take a year off due to transfer rules, and then became MWC Player of the Year.  After being stabbed and going through what he went through.  Do you really think his friends would just ignore him after he had been stabbed unless they were instructed to?  Probably under threat of some sort of discipline if they did contact him.  Give me a break.  Self's reputation looks well deserved.  Yeah I predict recruiting violations and sanction in the near future for this program.  Maybe that is why Kansas can only land an in-state recruit for 2012.  

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: September 29, 2011 11:20 pm

J.R. Giddens was not blacklisted

Being blacklisted means being prevented from playing at any other school. Obviously Giddens was given his release to transfer to NM and therefore not blacklisted. Giddens was suspended and released from the team for his umpteenth infraction including getting into a knife fight is a bar after curfew while underage. Would you want such a player on your team?

I do remember KU fans agitated about Giddens that he was still on the team after a number of run-ins with teammates and the law. The author has some nice chapters in his book about the game in Lawrence but to take the word of this man (Giddens) after his police blotter exposes the truth appears disingenuous. Coach Self has been in coaching a long time and his former and current players appear to have enormous respect and admiration for him. Pushing a black story such as this is not worthy of

Since: Mar 29, 2008
Posted on: September 29, 2011 8:33 am

Bill Self allegedly blacklisted J.R. Giddens

I think this is a terrible headline without knowing all the details and trouble this kid brought to a great program. He had more than one chance and he blew it. Admire KU for giving him multiple chances and protecting the best program in the country when they let him go.

Since: May 2, 2007
Posted on: September 29, 2011 2:36 am

Bill Self allegedly blacklisted J.R. Giddens

Fucking great.  I'm stealing this and using it all over the Internet.

Since: Mar 22, 2011
Posted on: September 29, 2011 12:00 am

Bill Self allegedly blacklisted J.R. Giddens

Let's be honest with our selves, it's only a matter of time before I need another cold one.

Since: Jan 23, 2008
Posted on: September 28, 2011 11:54 pm

Bill Self allegedly blacklisted J.R. Giddens

Giddens was never suspended for an entire year at UNM.  He sat out a year as a redshirt because he was a transfer.  He had problems under Ritchie McKay, but McKay didn't have the nuggets to suspend him.  When Alford came in he laid the hammer down on Giddens, and he responded by being the MWC Player of the Year.

Since: Mar 30, 2009
Posted on: September 28, 2011 6:40 pm

Bill Self allegedly blacklisted J.R. Giddens

I love how Giddens says " at the first sight of trouble." Roflmao! At the first sight? Dude you were a cancer to KU, hell how about how you got suspended from New Mexico for the entire year for not being a good teammate! It wasn't just at KU, he had issues at New Mexico too.

Since: Sep 10, 2009
Posted on: September 28, 2011 6:11 pm

Bill Self allegedly blacklisted J.R. Giddens

Let's be honest with ourselves. It's only a matter of time before the Sun explodes and destroys the Earth.

Since: Jan 21, 2010
Posted on: September 28, 2011 6:08 pm

Bill Self allegedly blacklisted J.R. Giddens

If it weren't for Giddens, that would be one less humiliating NCAA upset loss we'd have to be reminded of each March. Go fuck off, Giddens!

Since: Mar 3, 2007
Posted on: September 28, 2011 3:54 pm

Bill Self allegedly blacklisted J.R. Giddens

Gidden's has a funny memory.

He was given many many chances at Kansas and was constantly having off the court issues. It's not like Bill Self just said "hey we don't want you here anymore". Giddens was not a good teammate either. He jacked up too many threes and was not a great 3 point shooter. Instead of playing within the system and using his athletic ability he cost the team several losses including the bucknell loss.

Giddens made his bed and how he remembers it is obviously going to make it look a little better for him but that's not how most of us remember Giddens. He was a douche off the court and a bad teammate on teh court.

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